Thursday, 13 May 2010

Go round.

your love is a symphony
all around me
running through me
your love is a melody
underneath me
running to me
your love is a song

the dawn is fire bright
against the city lights
the clouds are glowing now
the moon is blacking out

I've been keeping my mind wide open
I've had numerous requests for a picture of the gate and of the rosebush. Not sure if you're going to examine the photos for the spectre of the preacher man or if you simply want a better idea of exactly where we bought.

I may concede on the rosebush later this week but not the gate, for the gate is an incredibly distinctive piece of architecture visible from the road (the roses are not, mercifully) and if you think I'm going to turn this journal into a map of the stars, I will marinate gleefully in your disappointment for the remainder of this day.

This time, things will be different.

I don't know, actually. I still get huge gaping pangs of fear and moments of extreme loneliness and it's been a week in the house. I still have moments of wow-I-could-walk-right-into-this-train-and-poof but it's tempered by hope and quieted by surprise.

Maybe it's so astounding that we're not forced to live at such a visceral level against the elements. Maybe that is the secret. (Oh joy. I can't wait until we get the three months of straight black clouds and constant rain that people talk about.) I'm obviously a fair-weather nightmare, in spite of my attempts to always pin that label to Lochlan's flannel shirt.

It is pretty here, and yes, the mountains are beautiful.

I hope they never erupt.

I hope I never see a bear in my front yard either.

I'm almost done with the boxes, and I've even summoned the moving company back to pick up the four-foot-wide stack of empty, flattened ones, and I'm thrilled to bits at the fact that we're chipping away at this quite nicely and finding a little room for things after all. It's becoming our house. Lochlan has his space, Daniel and Schuyler have a whole floor to themselves and are obviously honeymooning since we haven't seen them much at all, and Ben and I have our own entire wing with windows and space fitting for the giant rockstar that he is. Space for guests as well. It's really nice. It's very new and modern and the culture shock of that alone keeps me in permanent wonder.

I hope that never gets old, that feeling right there.

And the children are thriving, a mere three days into their new school. And aside from the neverending stream of jokes about Stepford and Children of the Corn (because damn. The parts here that aren't rugged forsaken coastline are pure country) they have made dozens of new friends, Ruth is teaching her friends to draw and Henry is being taught soccer by his friends. The teachers hand out fresh fruit for rewards in class and they have movie days outside and gym outside and free time outside and they're both so pink and healthy looking I have added sunscreen to our morning routine. Appetites. Good sleeps. Infinite smiles.

They have a good long walk to get there and home and I refuse to let the boys ferry them back and forth. They have lunch at school. The school has spirit and active parents and a principal who does band-aid duty and a lot of Bridget-handholding already as we learned the ropes in a school with a budget that allows for wonderful things and fulfilled, well-rounded children.

That's why we're here, after all. It wasn't a fresh start just for me. It was a risky grab for a rusted brass ring, the only one I saw out of the corner of my eye and when I turned my head I lost sight of it. I jumped anyway and I felt myself falling and then suddenly I had it and I closed both tiny dirty fists around it and I'll never let go.


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

To the sea.

When I first saw you
I was deep in clean blue water
The sun was shining
Calling me to come and see you
I touched your soft skin
And you jumped in
With your eyes closed
And a smile upon your face
No one told me Jack Johnson grew a beard. Maybe save for Switchfoot, I've spent a lot of time away from quiet music recently because I didn't deserve quiet music and instead I immersed myself in screaming anger and incessant power.

I have forgotten where I'm going with this. I'm distracted tonight. My hands hurt from the dish soap. It's so harsh and I still found myself hurriedly scrubbing the few things that don't fit in the time machine, the rush to return to the comfort of the living room causing me to forget to put on gloves. Then suddenly it's eight and there are lunches to make and showers to supervise and dogs to walk and the evening disappears in a flurry of sundaes promised but never fetched and now the thought is in my head of a peanut-sprinkled hot fudge vanilla ice cream bowl and I can't remove it so instead I spent a few minutes on the top floor, all to myself, admiring the wall to wall white carpets and the walk-in closets because I'm used to hardwood, no storage, if you please and so I hung my new dresses with room to spare and then I came out and turned off the light and closed the door.

The closet has a window, you know, that's how big it is.

Oh and the anger is in my head. Unquiet as always. Quiet on the outside, mayhem on the in.

Do I deserve some quiet or should I go force more angry music into my head? Is it time to enjoy things or am I too busy holding on to fear and remembering to be grateful so that I don't become complacent. I never want to appear to take anything for granted ever, to the point that I would hang a sign around my neck just in case there was even an inkling that someone might think otherwise.

When I let my guard down, things go wrong and I'll be strung up high until the moment comes when everything goes black in a single blink without enough time to feel regret.

Trust me, I've proven it over and over. I won't tempt fate ever again. I love Ben and he's here and we're together and I'm not going to risk his love on trying to fulfill your ridiculous perception of what optimism means so just, please, let it go. I know life. I've lived life. While you were in your bubble, mine had already smashed upon the rocks and I've been loose for years, wandering alone. Sometimes alone. Sometimes now I have company in my alone and that's him.

When I saw Ben this afternoon I noticed the lurch is still there. The one where my heart snaps gently against my ribcage from the inside and almost knocks me over. Plaid. Flannel. Beard. Smile. Love. All the wonderful things I missed all day and then I am rewarded with my kiss for being good and still being present and productive and then we come home and family time settles in and there's a new routine forming. We lost the bath one, we lost some of the late night talks because we've shifted so that we're up with the sun and asleep with the sun which is healthier anyway. Routines will be molded and fine-tuned as we go.

Maybe some quiet music in my head to sleep by. I will do my best.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Gothic rose windows.

That's what they fight most over now, the fact that my happy place or the place that I go to when I need emergency mental escape is not merely the pantry but instead it's a memory that I keep that they were never present for. That's the argument now. And none of this is to be confused with the concrete room underground where I keep my ghosts in captivity. That's the very sad place. Are we straight now? Good.

Also never mind the wine. Things happen. I took the numb because the angry, bitter and terrified is exhausting. You would do the same. I had Ben's blessing to have a drink and then three, four and five more because terrified Bridget is just completely unreasonable and numb Bridget is just unsteady and pretty damned quiet. She wants whispered reassurance and a chest on which to rest her head. No more than that is ever required from Miss Numb. The only fallout is it could be days before I regain my full expanded vocabulary and my mental reflexes. It will also be days before I permit myself to do it again, lest anyone assume I am headed down Ben's road to find him and maybe pull him off the wagon or something.

The happy place is Jacob's beach house.

Maybe you knew that or remembered it from early posts. Maybe I just haven't talked about it for a while. It was a place I would go when I wanted to catch a break, unwind, or just hang out with Jake. I never seemed out of place there, there was always a spot in the driveway for my car, something good to eat or Jacob would be just magically preparing to cook as I arrived, there was always a quiet airy chair in front of the big windows that overlooked the Atlantic and wine in the fridge so I could be micro-numb, or marginally numb or whatever Jacob would permit without saying a damned thing. I never seemed to interrupt him when I would show up at all hours of the day or night. Weekdays, weekends, holidays and even twice in a day sometimes, he was always glad to see me and would drop everything to spend time talking with me or not talking and just being with me.

I would drive up, and grab my bag out of the passenger seat and run up the stairs and across the porch and the door would be open but I would knock as I came in and he would put down whatever he was doing and come and greet me, always in his casual uniform of a pale blue dress shirt, frayed slim jeans, bare feet and his University ring. I would get a hug (since it's sort of a mandatory Bridget-greeting and has been for my friends for thirty years at least because emotionally I am still eight years old, sometimes seventeen if it's a very good day.) He would check me over without acknowledging that he was doing so and then we would pour wine and talk. Sometimes he would fire up some water for pasta and I would make a salad for two, sometimes we'd just take the wine and sit in front of the window and pick each other's brains.

We only walked the beach when the wind was very low because if it was up I couldn't hear him well enough and he didn't find that fair to me.

Sometimes if I didn't feel like talking I would go for a swim, and he would meet me at the door with a towel afterward and then I would borrow one of his shirts and hang out in a wet bikini for the remainder of the day in his living room which wasn't a living room at all but a white painted floor, white beadboard walls, and two chairs. Nothing else. One chair rocked, one did not.

Jacob always blushed when he would hand me the towel and sometimes he would ask if I was cold, but then he would frown because he was afraid I might check myself and agree and cover myself up and I know he wanted to see me. I know he wanted to touch me but we hardly ever touched save for the welcoming hugs. I always felt that if I touched him I would snap, crackle and explode somehow and it might be painful and he might vanish.

Mostly though I talked and he listened and sometimes when I wouldn't talk he would tell me stories from his travels and they were always somehow appropriate for what ever was going on at the moment. I could take something away from the conversation or find another angle from which to view a situation. He was good at listening and counseling too and he still shows up when I need him. He is the happy place, and finally I've managed to get him back into the sunlight so that the reflection on his beautiful hair blinds even those who can't see him and I've bought a place that's not all that different from the place he used to have except that instead of a lawn made of sand I have actual grass and a medieval wooden gate and a rosebush that's losing petals in the most glorious way, into the wind, coated with salt and sun. I'm so happy he's here now and I don't have to run down the concrete tunnels anymore. Those weren't Jake. The room wasn't Jake, it was cold and frightening and there was hardly any sun save for what Jacob could make in wishes.

Cole is still there, as far as I know. Almost went to see him last night. Glad I didn't or I never would have known that Jake was waiting for me by the gate.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The myth of Echo and Narcissus.

I can feel you falling away
No longer the lost
No longer the same
And I can see you starting to break
I'll keep you alive if you show me the way
Forever and ever the scars will remain
I'm falling apart
Leave me here forever in the dark
I'm supposed to be making dessert but instead of putting ice cream on pie I'm breathing into a paper bag. The devil came for dinner and tonight he's talking over and around me and I am pickled in evil now. It's in my hair, the fumes are in my clothes, it's caked under my nails and even my teeth are coated in Caleb's malevolence tonight. He isn't happy and I am too insolent to give a fuck.

Bridget's busy running around the countryside, buying big clean jars of honey and fresh new potatoes and driving with all the windows down and the stereo up, and price-comparing colored pencils for school and folding towels to put away and unpacking even more boxes and...

..completely ignoring him.


Tonight he bent Ben's arms back to grab the olive branch that he surreptitiously wedged into Ben's hands and he pretty much invited himself out to the rugged, less-densely populated cliffs to give me the lovely mental picture of pushing him off one of them. So I made spaghetti because Caleb hates spaghetti but Henry adores it so what was he going to do other than take a few bites and then attempt to continue to top up my glass of wine while he spoke with the children about their first day at their new school, managing to mask his disdain for all things publicly funded and therefore uncontrollable by him (see example: BRIDGET).

After the first two glasses I suddenly realized what he was doing and stopped drinking. Fool me twice, shame on all of us. For fuck's sake. Nothing ever changes. I wish he would go home. Instead he asks Ben how he thinks I'm doing and then he watches me while I sit there and scowl at him, smoothing ruffles, fluttering fingers that give me away. Nervous. Anticipatory. Exhausted and impressionable. Worn down. Suggestible. Defeated. Helpless. Ben will eventually create the rescue inside my head with a carefully logical set of phrases that Lochlan gifted to him ages ago and I will go to Bridgetworld where everything is lilacs and Mozart and beach glass and chocolate-chip cookie dough and beards and hearts and arms that don't want to hurt me except in only the good ways and not the ways in which I need to trade more pain for less pain with demonstrative fear.

As usual, I say too much. As usual, it's out of a desperation that only a clean white page can possibly understand because the depth isn't visible to anyone save for the princess and the devil. The knights turn a blind eye and the night a heavy hand.

Stupid ice cream is melting.

Audio Secrecy.

Found my stereo this morning.

Everything's going to be okay.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Cosmopolitan backwoods and impossible to describe.

When she's near
The new years here
And there is not a resolution that I can't do
I see things clearly when she's near me
When she's near me all the world is new

I'm waiting for the day
When i am on her mind (she's all mine)
I'm waiting for the day
When loves no longer blind, blind
Remember all of those boxes I packed so carefully throughout March? Yes, well, they're here and the adventure part of the move is just about finished, aside from exploring our new surroundings thoroughly.

It's a tough adjustment when nothing at all is familiar. Learning the mechanisms of fledgling cities poised on the brink of cool. Figuring out recycling methods and schools. Did I tell you? The children begin school tomorrow. They have no supplies. I have not opened their clothes yet. Nothing is ready. It's full-day school here, they will not come home for lunch and with Ben returning to work tomorrow too I'm a little unsure how I will feel rattling around in my new ski-chalet type modern castle all by myself.

The kitchen is unpacked, as is the living room, or most of it. I sold my giant armoire with my old house and now I'm wondering where the heck I'm going to put things, even though this house is twice as large, and where the old house had a whopping three tiny closets, this one has eight, plus I have gone from four decent sized kitchen cabinets to fourteen.

No worries. Seriously. I will find space, though we will probably purchase more shelves. Because IKEA, you know. Do I need to say more?

Oh and the teeny tiny little robin's egg blue table? It's mine again! I have reclaimed it and I'm not budging this time.

The beard will go again today. I unpacked Ben's shaving kit so he will go from extreme wildman to civilized ken doll in a few swipes and some carefully navigated sideburns and then grow it out all over again. I wish he would leave it but I believe I can understand how it must feel to have hair on your face when it's twenty-three degrees in the sun.

And today is Mother's Day and I'm hoping to do two loads of laundry, make three lunches, unpack at least twenty more boxes and maybe slip out to see Iron Man. My own mom is in New York this week and I won't speak with her until she comes back and so I'm foundering a little bit but we don't make a huge show of these days anyway, so I would much rather call it a nice Sunday with full sunshine and a wide open schedule than anything else. I hope there are a lot more of these in our future, because the fridge is full, the lawn is mowed and I have candles around the bathtub and finally enough dishes to run the time machine without feeling guilty.

Did I tell you how much I love this house? Everything is digital. I push buttons and things come on. I can turn on more than one light per floor without blowing a fuse and the furnace was born after my children so I don't have to worry about being cold. Ever again.

Oh and yesterday my neighbor informed us that bears wander over sometimes. Right into my yard.

If you've been a reader since the beginning you have heard how much I love bears (I do not, that's pure sarcasm) based on one of the final camping trips Cole and I took to Keji before we moved to the wild west. I won't tell the story again, I need to go wake up the children. I'm not going to think about it again until one appears with a picnic basket and a jar of honey.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Good on purpose.

Tomorrow if all goes well we'll be plunged back into a sea of cardboard, but we'll have our things back at last. This is especially poignant for Ben, who has been living out of a hockey bag since New Year's, and is ready to stop now.

I tried to make today good on purpose. It began at five in a flurry of sheets and toothbrushes and then once Ben was off to work at 6:30, I opted to make the kids breakfast and then I ran a hot bubble bath. The big soaker tub is my favorite thing about this house and I plan to use it more often than not. Coffee, in a borrowed pot, strong and black. Then some laundry and playtime with kids and pup and then we opted for a long walk to check out the route to school and a park along the way. Met another mom and her children and then we set out for the mailbox and home. Lunch and then some more serious cleaning. Washed all the floors, washed down the walls, did the window panes (again) and tracks.

I kept finding bumblebee carcasses jammed between the locks and the sills. So not happy having to pluck out the crunchy little bodies with my fingernails but now everything is clean. Brought in the recycling bins. Drove down to the farmer's market and found there was no parking, they're setting up tents for a plank salmon supper tonight, oh and if we are around Sunday there's a fair with free gifts to the first fifty moms. And welcome, we are happy to have you here.

I have gone backwards in time.

Made another pot of coffee and put my hair up in a low twist, tonight we have a party to go to and then tomorrow the truck arrives. I haven't decided how they are going to fit an eighteen-wheeler up this hill yet but they insist I shouldn't fret about that sort of thing.


Then I'll be down to organizing bagged lunches and changing our address, fiddling with the neverending budget and finding my way around. That and looking forward to late nights with Ben. Once the kids have put out their lights and gone to sleep we go and fill the soaker tub to the brim with bubbles and we light candles and have a nice long bath together before bed. It's rather glorious, thank you for asking, and though sleep is still short, it's been deeper. Maybe that routine will change eventually but for this week I cherish it.

And Henry and I came to an impasse at the store. He wants spaghetti every meal. And cookies, but that's another story. The spaghetti request never ends. Should you ask him twenty minutes after eating spaghetti what he wants for his next dinner he'll say spaghetti. Lunch? Spaghetti. Breakfast? Spaghetti. Snack? Spaghetti please. But I persist, and cook it once a week but no more. We all like spaghetti but every six or seven days is lots. So today I see the canned Chef-Boy-is-Mommy-Lazy spaghetti and I point it out to Henry, thinking he will want to buy twenty cans and proclaim me to be the best mom on the planet.

He wrinkled up his nose and said he didn't want to buy it. Not even one can to try.

When we came home I asked him why he didn't want it.

It's in a can, mommy.

So? that means it's like two weeks old.

Good point, little man. Gross.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Thirty-nine is a freshwater lake in the mountains and it seems beautiful but it's cold and unfamiliar so I am sticking my toes in and then retreating. I'm going to take my time easing into it. I will get used to it eventually. I will define it and own it. I'll be able to say it without the accompanying facial expression that leaves people incredibly amused.

What the fuck? Thirty-nine? But I don't look OH MY GOD THAT MEANS FORTY IS NEXT.

It is but we'll cover that next year, okay? Please. It's been a long year. One step at a time.

I'll just spread my towel here by the water's edge and consider the breeze for a few moments.

On Tuesday night Ben built us a bed. It's low and large and more solid than anything I've ever seen. We choose a very good proper adult mattress for it and new king-sized pillows. This followed a trip to buy beds for the children. It doesn't seem like the moving truck is ever going to arrive, though I am receiving daily updates, presently it is in the prairies but working slowly toward the coast and should be here on the weekend but really at this point I have come to expect nothing and will keep you posted.

Last night was presents and cake and song and paintings of a girl with yellow hair and it was wonderful and touching and overwhelming and I am exhausted. I had such a wonderful day. Ben chose the most wonderful gifts for me and I'm rather stunned by the expense and afraid to touch anything because I'm sure it's too much and we should send them back but at the same time I really really love what he's chosen and the fact that he wanted me to have such nice things. He's thrilled to be in the house. Thrilled with his bed. Thrilled with everything about the neighborhood we chose and the decisions we have made. Content would be a better word. He's got his commute down to a science and he loves the distance due to the ability to decompress on his return trip. Leave the bright lights behind, rockstar, and come home to the woods.

I'm not sure I enjoy the added time away from him but I will adjust.

I'm up to my ankles in the water now but you haven't been paying attention, have you?

And today I realized that I have caught some stomach bug that has left me with painful cramps and a blistering headache and crushing fatigue. I chalked it up to stress. To being Miss Rigid-Can't-Relax but then it grew to epic proportions and Ben began to complain as well. We've caught something somewhere. It will pass. I'm going to run errands shortly and then come home and rest. Nothing else is necessary. I'm waiting and doing little things. I'm not used to errands that require a car. We are far from certain things. Though there is enough within reach that we don't NEED to drive, it will be a necessary evil most of the time. Like birthdays and waiting for moving trucks and weathering illnesses, learning how to manage stress and sitting on the floor because you don't have a chair. Like ice cold glacier-fed lakes, volcanoes, giant slugs and black widow spiders.

Like turning thirty-nine.

Going for a quick swim, I'll be back later.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Threes and Nines.

I wiped my hands on my cheeks, leaving streaks of dust and dirt. I'm sure there's some poetic name for the color of centuries of dust mixed in with tears. If so, I don't know what it is.

You look even more tired. I didn't think it was possible.

Italic I'm doing my best.

You keep telling people that. Is anyone listening, princess?

Ask them.

I'm asking you.

I ignored him. I always come up with these questions late at night, and I wasn't about to let him steamroll me with his Jacob Knows Better routine. I've seen it before. I lived it for a while.

Not long enough.

What does it feel like to know that I'm two years older today than you will ever be? What happens when I'm old? Will you still be the same?

Am I the same?


Bridget, why do you ask me questions you already know the answers to? Don't you trust your own answers?


Why not?

Everything that can go wrong does, Jake.

Last night didn't go wrong.

You have a terrible way of showing up for events you're not invited to, mister.

That aside. Ben built you a bed. Then he drew a bath. Last night was nice for you. Right through to leaving the house.
Yes. And today is your birthday. Happy Birthday Princess. What did you ask for?

Sleep. Karma. Escape.

Any luck?


Ask for something money can buy, then.

Money is evil.

Everything is evil, princess. Pick and choose. We've talked about this before.

It isn't fair, Jacob.

I know, baby. You're doing great thought.

Yes, please mollify me. I'm loving that.

Don't be ungrateful.

I'm telling you that's the last thing I am.

Then let it go.


Evil finds you then, princess.

So let it come.

You disappoint me, Bridget. I thought you were so tough.

I was but that's over now. Now I'm just me again.

The girl who doesn't like birthdays?

Yes. That's the one.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Extremes in coastal living: the early days.

Did you see the Krispy Kremes? I know. Those things are crack. I've had four doughnuts today plus birthday cake (again)(not mine) and I'll be rolling into the new house tomorrow at any rate. Thank heavens it's downhill all the way.

That's what it's been so far, hasn't it? We actually left the condominium a few days earlier than planned due to a mixup and came out into the countryside to hang out with Lochlan's family. We're surrounded by horses here. It's a lot like Nolan's only more lush and far larger than the the little grove on the prairie where Ben and I fell in love. It's downright picture-perfect, like a postcard only without a hint of familiarity so far and Ben keeps patiently driving me around my new neighborhood and we practice left-right-left so I can memorize the way home and the way to the grocery store because for the first time in oh, thirty-eight years or so I'm going to enter car culture, where everyone drives everywhere because there is nothing within walking distance and the hills are so steep I fear for my life sometimes.

The house is still remote but I'm finally beginning to get flutters of excitement here and there like fireflies you can see just after the sun goes down.

The very first thing I took notice of today were the outlets on the outside of the house. For my tiny white lights. The expanse of verandah that will hold my favorite all-weather chairs and the windchimes I hear best. I didn't catch them the first time, just like I failed to notice there's a blooming lilac and a dogwood tree in my yard and both are flowering presently.

Last evening we stood outside and listened to the frogs and peepers and crickets and holy, it was LOUD. I heard them before Ben had the door open all the way and it was glorious. It was just like Greenfield, actually, only without the Medway river muffling everything save for the sound of the occasional car traveling swiftly through on the way to lonely nowhere.

(I only spent a few weeks there each summer (for fifteen years, mind you) growing up and oddly that is the first thing this reminds me of.)

The farmer's market here is packed, the strawberries run cheap and there are honey bees and horses and waterfalls and festivals around every bend. Like a movie only not, once again because it's real life. Except that I have to drive to my mailbox. I don't know where it is yet.

We've decided to stay on here until our moving truck arrives, rather than try and rough it in the house. A relief and a setback, because if I can go in the house tomorrow I know I won't want to leave, but really we can't sleep on the floor and we don't have dishes and pots and pans and blankets and anything. It's all on the truck and it would just be more comfortable to stay on a few more days than risk getting out of sorts any more than we are.

And we are. Ben's going into month five living out of a suitcase and the children have run out of patience for change. Different foods, different schedules and the total lack of familiarity take a toll on everyone. We need to just hold out a few more days. That's all.

Just a few more. We can manage. Character building, they call it. Sigh.

No more cross-country moves ever. Stick a fork in me, I'm so done I'm burnt and completely inedible, looks like you'll have to get take out after all.

Adapt or die, princess.

Indeed, Jacob. I am doing my best.